Jonathan Gonzalez Uses His Experience to Give Shokichi Iwata a Boxing Lesson
Jonathan Gonzalez (27-3-1, 14 KOs) put the WBO junior flyweight title on the line for the second time against Japan’s Shokichi Iwata (9-1, 6 KOs) on the under-card of light flyweight unification Kenshiro Teraji vs Hyroto Kyoguchi.
For years, Gonzalez was viewed as a quality and competent veteran. However, there were questions about whether he had what it took to be a world champion. That perception changed in October 2021 when he scored a split-decision win over Elwin Soto to capture the WBO belt. Title defense number one was a solid performance in a unanimous decision win over Mark Anthony Barriga in June 2022.
He now faced Iwata who has been impressive since turning pro in October 2018. The 26-year-old has shown steady progression at the local level. A breakthrough performance came in his last outing when he defeated veteran Kenichi Horikawa by a unanimous decision in July 2022. Iwata entered the fight with the champ ranked second by the WBA and WBO at light flyweight.
SETTING THE PACE
A southpaw, the champ began this one by boxing on the outside. Iwata pressed forward but was too eager, coming forward in a straight line without much head movement. As a result, Gonzalez landed with some counter left hands and right hooks in the first two rounds.
Rounds three and four saw the challenger make the action more physical as he found a home for left and right hands to the body.
SWITCHING THINGS UP
The fifth saw the champ change his tactics. He was fighting more on the front foot, pushing the challenger back. But Iwata was determined, looking to punish with power shots whenever possible.
Rounds six through eight saw the champ once again fight on the outside. He used his experience to jab, move side-to-side, land with his lead left hands, then slide out of danger. Whenever Iwata got in close, Gonzalez would grab, hold, and step back.
Gonzalez followed a similar pattern in the championship rounds, and Iwata never adjusted. Was it the most aesthetically pleasing thing to watch? Nope! Although, it was effective, and that’s what counts!
The judges ultimately scored the fight for the champion (117-111, 116-112×2). With Gonzalez fighting on the under-card of Kyoguchi – Teraji, one could see him heading back to Japan, this time in a unification at some point in 2023!
By: Michael Wilson Jr.